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20 Dec 2019

AFP & news24

DRC: 10 000 families to be relocated from cobalt site due to rising mineral demand

"10 000 families to be moved from DR Congo cobalt site - provincial governor", 18 December 2019.

DR Congo authorities are to pay some 10 000 families to move away from a south-eastern town sitting atop billions of dollars worth of cobalt, a provincial governor said Tuesday. "If the state determines that it is in the interest of the entire nation, it can relocate and compensate the inhabitants," said Richard Muyej, governor of Lualaba province...

He said the relocation plan would cost some $800 million...Some 600 families were already relocated from Kasulo town last year, with compensation levels ranging widely between $1,500 and $10,000 per household, according to a local watchdog group, Synergie...Muyej anticipated pushback from residents over the re-location, but said "what is under the ground does not belong to individuals but to the state". Each of the 10 000 families is made up of around 10 members, he said.

The announcement comes as it emerged that five US tech giants including Apple, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet have been named in a lawsuit over the death of child labourers in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo...It also lists Dell and Tesla as defendants in the case which was submitted by the International Rights Advocates (IRA) campaign group to a Washington tribunal...The Democratic Republic of Congo produced two-thirds of the world's cobalt in 2017. The mining industry has said it wants to adopt standards of good governance to improve working conditions.